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Q&A

How to deal with keeping a first aid kit inside a hot car?

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Excluding parking the car in the shade or carrying the kit in person, what are some solutions to handle emergency car kits in the heat?

I am aware medications, ointments, creams, adhesives are the ones to worry about, but I'd like to ask for any experiences and suggestions.

Other details that also came to mind:

  • How often to rotate in these conditions?

  • What is the best material for storage or even as "extra layers"? (e.g., a thick bag, container or cooler)

  • Where is the best place to store? In the car's interiors like the glove compartment or underneath the seats? Or in the trunk? (I've read different opinions about the car trunk being the hottest/coolest area.)

I live in Southern California so the temperatures can get pretty record-breaking, particularly in the summer. I recently started volunteering at my local park and trails so I've been very curious for answers to better educate and prepare myself.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/q/19309. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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4 answers

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Keeping things against the floor with insulation on top is often the best approach for keeping them cool. This could be under the front seats or in the spare wheel compartment, but many modern cars have compartments under the boot (trunk) floor. The tops of these compartments provide some insulation from the worst of the greenhouse heating, but the kit itself should be insulated. A sealed bottle of water or two can fill the remaining space and reduce the rate of temperature rise; spare water is close to a first aid item in hot places anyway.

I would avoid rotating items out of this location into another place, as you could then end up ruining all your stock. I've found better quality (expensive branded) adhesive dressings (plasters/band-aids and tapes) to survive temperature extremes better than cheap ones.

For temperature-sensitive medication there's not a lot you can do, but this should help with ointments and adhesive dressings. There is of course a trade-off with accessibility.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/19312. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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There are good answers regarding where to put it and how to best protect it. I'll add a few insights to those excellent answers.

  1. Separate the insensitive stuff from the sensitive stuff. Bandaids, compresses, burn-gel, dest. water, antiseptic, some NSAIDs - these things usually withstand heat well. So, epi-pens and other medication (you can ask at the pharmacy for this information) put in a separate bag, store the same place

  2. Get a thermometer that is like this. - preferrably analogue, with min/max readings. Put it inside the bag with the sensitive stuff. This way you can tell what needs replacement when. Maybe you can have a spare bag of stuff that has been exposed to too high temperature. When you really need an epi pen, you are likely not going to do any damage if the alternatives are "no epi pen" or "old and exposed epi pen".

Cave at lector: I am not a medical professional, but this is what the manufacturer says in this specific case (epipen):

Expired adrenaline autoinjectors are not as effective when used for treating allergic reactions and should not be relied upon to treat anaphylaxis. However, the most recently expired adrenaline autoinjector available should be used if no in-date device is available.

This is usually the case for most medicines - they become less effective but not harmful. (again, do check the specifics yourself, if you use a strangers advice in a life or death situation, the liability is on you...)

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/19322. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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The two main tricks for storing things in a car in hot temperatures are,

  • Try to keep the car as cool as possible,

    • Park in the shade.
    • Use a reflective windshield shade to reflect some of the heat that would otherwise be absorbed and heat up the inside of the car.
  • Keep the things inside of other things and keep them out of direct sunlight.

    • Coolers work well, I have used rubbermaid containers for this in the past.
    • The interior will be cooler than the trunk, at least from the experiments I have seen.

As far as how often to rotate, that will depend on how serious the failure of a particular component is. For instance, it would be far more critical to replace an epi-pen after exposure to really high heat than band-aids.

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Consider splitting the kit.

Put dressings, scissors, hemostat, tape ... in one for non perishables. I like using a fishing tackle box. Athletic tape, antiseptic powder, saline solution, and bar soap all hold up in the heat pretty well. In a car accident with major problems you are not worried about ointments. Airway, bleed, stabilize, and get professional medical help.

Ointment and other perishables a small box or even a bag and store under the seat. Or a thermos - like a coffee thermos. Look at Klean Canteen insulated food canister. Rotate out as needed. I would check every 6 - 12 months.

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This post was sourced from https://outdoors.stackexchange.com/a/19324. It is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

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